Computers, telephones, cars, television—all these gadgets and inventions have only just come about within the past century. Being such recent additions to society, people surely survived before their creation; sadly, there are rarely any people today that understand what that was like. Hardly ever are people not on their smartphones anymore, whether they’re texting their friends, looking something up, or using social media. Whatever the reason, people are constantly relying on technology to do something for them nowadays.
The author Ray Bradbury emphasizes this in his short stories, “The Pedestrian”,”The Veldt”, and “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains”, where the main characters rely so heavily on their technologically innovative houses to feed, entertain, and aid them in their daily lives that all the outcomes are anything but positive. Negative consequences like these aren’t fictional like most of the components of Bradbury’s stories, though; scientists have already found many side effects of too much screen time and technology use.
Bradbury’s concept that overuse and overreliance on technology will lead to negative consequences rings true today in that it will harm one’s mental, social, and even physical health. Using technology for too long or using it too frequently is unnecessary and will only harm people’s social health. True, there are many beneficial aspects of technology; without texting or calling, long-distance communication would be virtually impossible to accomplish within days or even months, depending on the distance.
Computers make documenting information faster and easier, and listening to the news via the radio or television is more convenient than relying on hearsay to know what is going on in the world. If not for cars, transportation to places further than twenty to thirty miles would take most of the time in the day. These are all very valid and very significant contributions to society, but people have begun to take advantage of much of the new technology that has come about in the last century in an unhealthy way.
Instead of going outside to play basketball, play tag, or simply take a walk down the street, children’s idea of entertainment has come to revolve around sitting and watching Netflix or playing FIFA on Xbox. Adults even fall into the trap of constantly checking people’s statuses on Facebook or watching reruns of their favorite show to pass the time. Bradbury recognized that these socially-retractive tendencies would appear in people ift overused technology way before they invented much of the technology of today.
In “The Pedestrian,” the main character, Leonard Mead, takes a walk every night but never runs into another person, even across thousands of miles: this was because the television had become the primary and only source of entertainment for people. He likens the society of people to corpses due to their constant stillness in front of the television: “Everything went on in the tomblike houses at night now, he thought, continuing his fancy. The tombs, ill-lit by television light, where the people sat like the dead, the gray or multicolored lights touching their faces, but never really touching them”(Bradbury).
Instead of interacting with one another and forming valuable social relationships, people sat down all night, secluded in their own little homes, depending on the T. V. to entertain them. This voluntary reclusion from the rest of society was and is a very unhealthy behavior for one’s social health, as proven by research today. In the article, “Two Ways Excessive Technology Effect Your Health,” Michelle Brennan discusses what seems to be the “gradual breakdown of the interest in developing relationships with neighbors, or those you see on the streets everyday.
Neighbors don’t form strong bonds and friendships like they used to, and support systems within communities suffer because of it. Brennan also brings up the evident difference in social awareness due to over-reliance on technology: “Last month in San Francisco , a killer walked onto a crowded train. The passengers were so involved in their smartphones and iPods that no one saw him take out his gun and wave it around. In fact, he did this four or five times, randomly aiming at individuals as he randomly chose his target.
No one noticed until he fired a round into the back of a university student, killing him. The passengers were so consumed with technology and completely detached from their environment that they didn’t notice what was going on. ” (“Two Ways Technology… “) People use their technology so consistently that they completely lose sight of what is happening around them, and their interactions with the people around them lessen to what can clearly be a deadly degree.
No matter if it is relations with people within a community or simply the day-to-day communications with strangers on a train, the important aspects of people’s social health suffer tremendously when they rely on technology too heavily. Over-using technology also greatly harms people’s mental health. The constant entertainment and stimulation technology gives its users creates an addiction of sorts. People can no longer accept a single moment of boredom as being normal; instead, they must have something to give them satisfy them, something to occupy and captivate their brains at all times.
Before the time of most modern technology, it was perfectly normal to have to endure small amounts of time where there was no entertainment available. People learned how to entertain themselves so these times of boredom wouldn’t be extensive. People made music rather than listening to it; people painted pictures and drew sketches of things they found beautiful rather than looking up pictures of them; and people went outside and played sports rather than watching them on T. V.
Back then, people made it so they wouldn’t have to depend on anyone or anything to make them happy, but today, it seems that no one knows how to get along in life without the luxury of technology. This has become a very prevalent problem, especially among children, who will typically throw a tantrum the minute their parents take their iPad Mini away or tell them their time watching old “Hannah Montana” episodes is over. Ray Bradbury insists these kind of absurd reactions would be a consequence of bringing too much technology into everyday life in his short story, “The Veldt.
When the father in the story, George Hadley, and his wife, Lydia, tell their son Peter that they plan to completely turn off their entire “Happy House,” which feeds, clothes, and cleans them all by itself, Peter becomes terribly upset. He speaks to his father: “That sounds dreadful! Would I have to tie my own shoes instead of getting the shoe tier to do it? And brush my own teeth and comb my hair and give myself a bath? ‘ ‘It would be fun for a change, don’t you think? ‘No, it would be horrid.
I didn’t like it when you took out the picture painter last month. ‘ ‘That’s because I wanted you to learn how to paint all by yourself, son. ”I don’t want to do anything but look, listen, and smell; what else is there to do? “” Peter’s outrage at losing his precious technology for only a month was so great that he and his sister went on to lock their parents in the virtual-reality room, or the “nursery,” which they set to hold an African veldtland filled with vicious lions.
They tell the lions from outside the door, “Don’t let them switch off the nursery and the house” (“The Veldt”), and leave the parents inside to fend for themselves. George and Lydia obviously died, and the kids felt no guilt whatsoever for what they had done. The morbid explanation for this and the message it sends is this: the technology affected the kids’ mental health so badly that taking it away from them drove them towards sociopathic actions. Michelle Brennan furthers Bradbury’s point with research she has conducted recently.
She explains that the worsening necessity for constant entertainment that people feel today is a result of a change in cognitive development in the brain, and it is actually causing attention problems and/or disorders. In her article “Two Ways Excessive Technology Can Negatively Affect Your Health,” she says: “Children who are accustomed to constant stimulation never had a need to develop their attention, and so they don’t. Who needs sustained attention when everything is quick and novel?
This can lead to children and adults having problems when they eventually run into a situation where they are required to do tasks that are not exciting or stimulating. They begin seeking medications that they otherwise would never have needed to help them manage their attention deficits. ” Basically, when children are always allowed access to technology that does everything for them, whether it be doing simple tasks or providing entertainment, it will impair their mental development and therefore harm their mental health immensely.